A World From Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life
A World From Dust describes how a set of chemical rules combined with the principles of evolution in order to create an environment in which life as we know it could unfold. Beginning with simple mathematics, these predictable rules led to the advent of the planet itself, as well as cells, organs and organelles, ecosystems, and increasingly complex life forms. McFarland provides an accessible discussion of a geological history as well, describing how the inorganic matter on Earth underwent chemical reactions with air and water, allowing for life to emerge from the world's first rocks. He traces the history of life all the way to modern neuroscience, and shows how the bioelectric signals that make up the human brain were formed. Most popular science books on the topic present either the physics of how the universe formed, or the biology of how complex life came about; this book's approach would be novel in that it condenses in an engaging way the chemistry that links the two fields. This book is an accessible and multidisciplinary look at how life on our planet came to be, and how it continues to develop and change even today. This book includes 40 illustrations by Gala Bent, print artist and studio faculty member at Cornish College of the Arts, and Mary Anderson, medical illustrator.
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2 Predicting the Chemistry inside a Cell
3 Unfolding the Periodic Table
4 The TriplePoint Planet
5 Seven Chemical Clues to First Life
6 Wheels within Wheels
7 The Risk and Reward of Sunlight
8 One Step Back Two Steps Forward
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amino acids animals arsenic atoms bacteria bacterium billion years ago binding biochemistry Biol biological bonds brain calcium called Cambrian explosion carbon chains cell Chaisson Chapter Chem chemical chemistry chemists CHON color complex convergence copper cycles electrons elements energy rate density environment enzyme eusociality evolution evolutionary evolved flow fossils genes genome geological Gould green Hazen heat human hydrogen increased inside ions iron levels life’s liquid look magnesium manganese metabolic metals methane methanogens microbes mineral mitochondria molecules Mono Lake move Natl Acad Sci Nature negative charge neurons nickel nitrogen nitrogenase ocean organisms oxidized oxygen pattern periodic table phosphate phosphorus photosystems pigments plants PLoS porphyrin positive charge potassium predictable Proc Natl Acad protein protons R. J. P. Williams reactions reactive redox rocks Science scientists shape signaling sodium channels species stick story structures sugar sulfate sulfide sulfur there’s toxic waves zinc